Are You Safe At Home?

Imagine Michael O’Connor hiding in a closet while you sit in your living room watching television. You go up to bed and he starts rifling through your things, taking what he wants. You hear a noise downstairs. It’s dark. You’re alone. The noise is too sharp to be anything but someone in your house. A footstep. A thud. You don’t have a dog or a husband. What do you do?

You call the cops. Five minutes pass. You hold your breath.

He’s coming up the stairs. You’re on the second floor. Too high to jump.

If this guy wants to hurt you, he’s going to. You imagine being stabbed. Raped. Killed. He’s almost to your door and you have no defense except to hide.

The sad reality is that cops don’t prevent crime. They react to it. Little solace when you’ve been victimized.

Have you been robbed? I have.

Chevy Cavalier Z24

In 1995 I bought a brand new Chevy Cavalier Z24. It wasn’t the coolest car on the planet, but I worked my butt off to buy it. The first night I parked it at my apartment, someone jammed a screwdriver into the lock, got in, and ripped the plastic off the steering column. Luckily the thief couldn’t get past the alarm.

A few years earlier I had a Datsun 210 parked in front of city hall in New Bedford. That car was stolen on a Saturday afternoon. My college textbooks, my golf clubs, clothes. Stuff I was really attached to. I was a kid working my way through college 80 hours a week in the summer and fulltime during the school year. I couldn’t afford to replace all that stuff. But some punk took my stuff and sold it for a tenth of its value.

Years later I lived in a really nice neighborhood, the kind of place you move to get away from city life. Three years ago people started breaking into houses and cars at night. I had had enough of punks walking in and taking what they wanted from me. I had plenty of guns, but nothing suitable for regular carry. I bought a .380 that I could wear every day. And I did.

An old boss of mine said, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

Three times I did what George Zimmerman would have done. I saw cars parked in the neighborhood that didn’t belong and I walked up to them, gun in my belt, and asked what they were doing. All three times they drove away and I didn’t see them again.

I didn’t flash my gun. I didn’t shoot anybody. But these guys knew not to come back.

There has been a lot of media hype and attention to the fact that George Zimmerman was an older “white looking” guy and Treyvon Martin was a “black” kid. The media loves to inflame racial tensions when a story like this hits the news, but what about the facts?

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman

Trayvon Martin

Trayvon Martin

What I haven’t been seeing in the media is that the residents of the Retreat at Twin Lakes, the complex where Zimmerman was community watch coordinator, made 402 calls to the police in one year. Are you kidding me? 402 calls. That’s a crime epidemic. No wonder Zimmerman was out there with a gun.

You may be thinking Zimmerman was a nut, calling the cops every five minutes. Nope. According to Wikipedia, Zimmerman called the cops 16 times. So, 386 times other people called.

My question to you is… If you lived in this complex wouldn’t you be out there with a gun next to Zimmerman?

We can’t know the outcome of this case before it is tried, but before you convict George Zimmerman in your own mind, consider the following:

  • The Retreat at Twin Lakes had 402 calls to the police in one year.
  • Zimmerman called the cops, one of the rare times he did, because he thought something was wrong.
  • Trayvon Martin may have been young, but he was 7” taller than Zimmerman.
  • There is a photo of blood coming out of the back of Zimmerman’s head, taken by a bystander.
  • Eyewitnesses report Martin attacking Zimmerman, though the information is sketchy.

When I consider these facts it appears to me that Zimmerman was part of the solution. He was out there trying to stop a crime wave around his home. Martin felt threatened by Zimmerman because he was being followed. Based on what I read, Martin had a right to be where he was, but instead of telling Zimmerman so, he attacked. Who attacked whom may not be known, but it appears that Martin was winning the fight and threatened to cause serious injury to Zimmerman by smashing his head against the ground. That’s when Zimmerman shot Martin dead.

Martin’s death is a tragedy. We may never know what really happened, but before you convict George Zimmerman, consider that we all have a responsibility to our community. Right or wrong, George Zimmerman was trying to protect his.

What do you think happened that night?